Experts say more than 10 million people are victimized by identity theft each and every year – and that number is growing. The effects of this crime are far-reaching and vary in severity from case to case.
When a person is victimized, there is more to it than just dollars and time lost. There is also an emotional impact. Short-term emotional responses, as part of a survey about the emotional impact of identity theft, showed that 37 percent of those surveyed said they felt violated. Sixty percent said they felt betrayed, while 63 percent said they felt a sense of powerlessness.
Businesses are also impacted. Businesses lose a whopping $221billion per year due to identity theft, because they are prime targets for identity theft. Databases in most any business will contain customer names and addresses, Social Security numbers, and financial information – all information thieves would give their right arms for.
When it comes to recovery, the process of restoring your identity and settling the damage that comes as a result of identity theft varies from case to case. A survey estimated that victims who had an account taken over by a thief spend somewhere around 58 hours repairing the damage. When there was a new account set up, the repair time went up to 165 hours.
In some cases, victims suffer indefinitely, and often find themselves with irreparable damage, with a compromised credit score and no relief in sight.
If you've been victimized by identity theft, contact your local police, and the three credit bureaus to be sure to lock down your credit file. Take action quickly. You know the thieves will.